There are many different aspects of writing and publishing a nonfiction book. In addition, the writing and publishing process for nonfiction books is different from fiction in many ways. However, today, we will be focusing on one aspect of nonfiction book – writing, and we will not be looking at the publishing process, even though it does merit attention by itself. Before you make the decision to write a nonfiction book, you need to decide whether you have enough information for it, and whether that information would be of benefit to anyone. Moreover, you need to discover whether your book has an established audience. Research the nonfiction niche your book would belong to, and see whether there is any interest in the topic. This will help you later with the publishing process, and it will give you valuable insight on the topic itself. Below, you will find all the things you shouldn’t do when writing a nonfiction book, and an explanation of why you should not do them.
1. Being overly creative
It is perfectly understandable that you wish to make your nonfiction book as interesting as possible. The writing process will be more entertaining that way, and everyone enjoys entertainment, even in nonfiction. For that reason, creativity and ingenuity in writing style and layout of a nonfiction book are highly encouraged – however, do not get carried away and become too creative. In other words, do not fictionalize your book to the point where it becomes creative nonfiction – because that’s a completely different genre where readers know that they are getting a mixture of truth and fiction for the sake of education and entertainment. However, when you are writing a nonfiction book, you need to keep to the truth and not fictionalize any aspect of it. You might think it’s entertaining to say that you have learned all those meditation techniques in Tibet, however, when your readers discover that you have never been there, which they are bound to do, you will lose credibility.
2. Write in a textbook style
Textbook style nonfiction books can make the readers fall asleep or feel like they are in school. Alas, depending on the topic, you might not be able to adopt a personal approach to your topic. Before writing, however, you should read a lot of books in your niche – you do not want to offer the same information in works already out there. In any case, once you read a lot of nonfiction books, you will notice that, occasionally, even though two books belong in the same niche, they are written in a different style. So, focus on finding your own unique voice, on not being repetitive compared to other books in the same genre, and your nonfiction book will be great, regardless of the writing style.
3. Offer false information
Similarly to being overly creative, offering flat out false information is ethically wrong, and will cost you credibility. Writing nonfiction can become a career for you, but it will not happen if you offer false information. We live in the digital age. Your readers’ interest in the niche and topic you are writing in will not be limited to your book only. This means that they will read other books within the same niche. In other words, if you are offering false information, your readers will discover it. And with the modern word-of-mouth that is social media, the news will go viral. Maybe not universally viral, but the news will definitely go viral within your niche. And that means you will need to bid goodbye to your career within the niche (even if you are not a writer), and to any career in writing. Moreover, think about the importance of the information you are relaying and the fact that you might actually hurt people if you deliver false information, especially if your niche is self-help or similar.
4. Avoid interaction with your readers
Fiction takes the reader into a completely new universe. Nonfiction, on the other hand, does not. For that reason, you should not simply present your information without allowing for interaction between the readers and your book, and between the readers and yourself as the author. You can encourage interaction by offering exercises for your readers, for example, if you are writing in the self-help niche, or you can ask your readers to offer insight and information of cities and towns they have visited if you’re writing in the tourism and traveling genre. This way, you will show the readers that you care about the topic you are writing about, and that you also care for your readers, making your readers value you more as an author, and becoming loyal towards you.
5. Diverge from the topic
You might want to share the background of how you achieved a feat, and it might make a very interesting story. However, instead of spending a full chapter on it, you should simply present the highlights – the interesting part, and move on to the actual information. It is very easy to get sidetracked and diverge from the topic at hand, but, you can always divulge more information in the introduction of your book. Remember, people read nonfiction books for the information and knowledge they gain while enjoying an interesting story. While entertainment is always a good thing in a nonfiction book, it is considered a bonus. If you diverge too much from the topic, the reader might decide your nonfiction book does not contain enough information, and decide to get another book in the same niche that does contain what they need. Remember, always complete the reader’s needs first, and do everything else second.
[author] [author_image timthumb=’on’]https://writingtipsoasis.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/12/photo.jpg[/author_image] [author_info]Georgina Roy wants to live in a world filled with magic. As an art student, she’s moonlighting as a writer and is content to fill notebooks and sketchbooks with magical creatures and amazing new worlds. When she is not at school, or scribbling away in a notebook, you can usually find her curled up, reading a good urban fantasy novel, or writing on her laptop, trying to create her own.